This portion of the author's address focuses on variants of the most common form of compulsory arbitration. Experience with final offer arbitration in such states as Wisconsin, Oregon, Iowa, Massachusetts, and Michigan is considered.
The author suggests that differences in the way such a procedure is written have a considerable impact on the nature of the process that follows. He expresses a preference for procedures that allow for voluntary measures.
As the decade of the 1980s began, approximately 20 of the United States permitted some or all of their public employees either a de facto or de jure right to strike. But even these 20 states recognized that certain of their public employees—ordinarily those in the uniformed public safety services— could not be permitted the strike right. It had become obvious that if government was to give public employees the right to bargain collectively yet no strike right, both equity and practicality required that alternative procedures for the resolution of impasses in negotiations had to be provided.
During 20 years of experimentation with mediation, fact finding, and arbitration in various jurisdictions in the United States, legislators and labor-management representatives have created a number of alternatives to and varieties on each of these techniques. Not all of these new varieties are equally meritorious, but all of them have worked well in at least some situations and are thus worthy of consideration.